Athletic Club Bilbao defeated Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-1 in the first of four Premier League International Cup ties to be played at Adams Park.183 fans turned out at the home of the Chairboys to witness an entertaining affair in the under-21s competition, with the likes of Celtic, Porto and Benfica all set to visit the stadium later in the group stages.
The game started at a high tempo with both sides showing plenty of technical ability on the ball, passing it around with a high intensity with a few dangerous crosses flashing across the box.
The opening goal came on 25 minutes when Bilbao’s Markel Lozano crashed home an effort from long-range into the bottom corner, capitalising on an injury to his marker to latch on to a half-clearance and beat the unsighted Martin Kompalla in goal.
Included in the crowd were Blues boss Gareth Ainsworth plus former Wanderers Scott Marshall and Keith Ryan, who have both worked in youth coaching since their retirement from their playing days.
They almost saw a cleverly-worked equaliser just before the interval but Thomas Kraus’ toe-poked effort struck the post and stayed out after he was sent through one-on-one with Jon Ander Felipe.
The second half saw the introduction of Joshua Holtby – younger brother of former Spurs star Lewis – from the Borussia bench, as Benno Mohr saw a low shot saved by Felipe.
The Germans were becoming a stronger force although nearly fell behind when Asier Villalibre curled just over, but the equaliser came on 70 minutes when a deep cross from the right was missed by the keeper, turned back into the six-yard box and Gianluca Rizzo had the simple task of tapping home.
Then, with their tails up, Borussia were denied by a fine save by Felipe as Holtby curled a sumptuous effort towards the corner, but they were undone by a set piece and poor marking as firstly Unai Bilbao turned home from a corner and then Gorka Guruzeta headed home from an unmarked position from a cross.